Inventions That Changed the World: The Polio Vaccine

Posted By Staff Writer on March 20, 2013

It was the dreaded fear of mothers across the nation in the early twentieth century yet it is rarely heard of just a few decades later.  Poliomyelitis, commonly known and referred to as polio, is a paralyzing viral infection that is most common in small children.

During the early years of the twentieth century polio was a cursed and whispered word, seldom spoken of lightly, and never with a pleasant appeal.  Polio’s terrifying ability to infect small children and interfere with their nervous system left many thousands of American youngsters with withered limbs and lifelong disabilities.

The polio epidemics of the 1910’s 20’s and 30’s led medical professionals to scour the globe and their laboratories for a weapon to use against the terrible disease.  The so called Great Race for a polio vaccine culminated in what many have called the discovery of the century by American doctor and medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk in 1952.

Dr. Salk first tested his vaccine against the polio virus in 1952 before announcing to the world in 1955 that a viable vaccine against the feared virus was now a reality.  Albert Sabin followed Dr. Salk a few short years later by licensing an oral version of the polio vaccine in 1962.

The efforts of Dr. Salk and his contemporaries to fight back against the polio virus have led to the virtual eradication of the once dreaded disease from off the face of the entire earth.  Polio has not been completely wiped from existence, but it no longer carries the horror that it used to thanks to the vaccine developed by Dr. Salk.

The polio vaccine is sure to live on in the annals of medical discovery as one of the greatest achievements of medical research.  At Independence University, we honor and respect the dedication of Dr. Salk and his contemporaries who won the battle against polio and believe that their accomplishments should remind all of the great enabling power that education and knowledge provides to individuals and to the world.

Empower yourself and your community by furthering your education in healthcare today at Independence University.

Author Bio Megan Wickes is a graduate of the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program. She currently works for Independence University, managing its online presence. In addition to her love of marketing, Megan enjoys wakeboarding, boating, and spending time with her husband and new baby boy.